Renault will be turning 10 in June'21 in India. In June 2011, Renault had launched its first car in India - the Fluence. The French Automaker has come a long way since then and has launched a total of 10 models in the Indian market and has sold over 7.15L units (Inception till Feb'21). Out of the 10 models launched in the Indian soil; 6 are already discontinued which contributed just 61.6K units (8.6%) to its overall Volume. Renault tasted success after the launch of Duster in Jul'12 (1.97L units sold till date) & Kwid in Sep'15 (3.82L units sold till date).
About Renault India:
Renault India Private Limited (RIPL) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Renault S.A., France, and currently offers four models in the Indian market: Duster, Triber, Kwid & Kiger. Renault India also exports to a growing number of right-hand drive markets. Renault cars are manufactured at the manufacturing facility located in Oragadam, Chennai, with a capacity of 480,000 units per annum.
In February 2008, Renault-Nissan Alliance signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Tamil Nadu to set up a manufacturing plant in Oragadam near Chennai. Work on the plant began in June later that year and was completed in a record 21 months. Renault Design India, the first vehicle design studio set up by a foreign manufacturer in India, was established in Mumbai in September 2008. The design house is integral to Renault's success in India as one of its functions is to monitor customer trends and customize global products for India. Renault also launched International Logistics Network (ILN) in Pune handling components sourced from Indian suppliers for all Renault-Nissan Alliance production plants worldwide, in particular South Africa & Brazil.
Let us see Renault India's sales journey in the subcontinent to date -
Kwid has been the most successful product in Renault India's lineup. It has over 53% contribution in the OEMs lifetime volumes!
Even though Kwid has a lion's share in Renault India's volumes; it was Duster that helped the French major establish itself as a prominent player in the Indian market. Duster was one of the first models in the Mid-SUV segment and taught the biggies like Hyundai how to rake in volumes in the >Rs.10 Lakh segment (Creta).
Let's look at the discontinued model lineup of Renault-
60% of the models launched by Renault India were discontinued!
The list of discontinued models had an average stint of 4.4 years in the Indian market.
Renault Pulse was the longest-running model in the set of discontinued models.
1. Renault Captur (Nov’17 to Dec’19) -
Renault was able to sell 6,618 units of the Captur in its lifetime. It recorded the highest sales in the first month of the launch (Nov'17 - 1,119 units) and the volumes has been falling since then.
It was a derivative of the global Renault Kaptur. Under the "same skin with different specification" strategy adopted by Renault, the Captur was launched in India in a larger version based on the cheaper B0 platform. Advertising videos from Renault India got a negative reception in the Team-BHP forum and media outlets for allegedly "misinform" customers on the car awards by mentioning the ones received by the B platform version (Kaptur). The Captur was finally discontinued in India in Dec'19 due to lacklustre sales.
2. Renault Koleos (Oct'11 to Feb'16) -
Koleos was able to garner just 1,052 units in its lifetime. Renault introduced the Koleos in the Indian market on 8 September 2011 and dispatches started from October 2011. Being a newcomer; it was a difficult run for the model to compete in the Premium SUV segment. The platform was not only a failure in India but couldn't fare well in other global markets too.
3. Renault Scala (Aug'12 to Feb'17) -
Renault Scala was nothing but a rebadged Nissan Sunny and was underpinned by Nissan’s V platform. Renault India's strategy of badge engineering and launching models in parallel with Nissan didn't work well and had a negative impact on the OEM. The badge engineering was basic and no major changes in the interiors/exteriors led to dissonance at both Renault and Nissan. Scala sold 13,334 units in its 4.5 years of existence in India and recorded its lifetime highest volume in the month of Mar'13 when 1,026 units were shipped to the dealers.
4. Renault Lodgy (Apr'15 to Dec'19) -
Renault India launched its first MPV Lodgy on 9 April 2015, at a base price of Rs 8.19 lac. The Lodgy was offered in seven variants: Lodgy std 85PS, Lodgy RxE 85PS, Lodgy RxL 85PS, Lodgy RxZ 85PS, Lodgy RxL 110PS, Lodgy RxZ 110PS 8 seater and Lodgy RxZ 110PS seven-seater. The model was launched to take on the likes of Maruti Ertiga but wasn't able to do so. Anyhow it sold 18,079 units in its lifetime and contributed to just 2.5% of Renault India's volumes.
5. Renault Fluence (June'11 to Feb'17) -
Fluence was Renault's attempt to make a presence in the premium range of sedans segment and was launched as a flagship model for the OEM. It was Renault India's first product for the Indian market! However; the model sold a meager 4,331 units in 6 years. Do note that it sold just 24 units its last 16 months!
6. Renault Pulse - (Jan'12 to May'17) -
The Renault Pulse was a version of the Nissan Micra designed by Renault's Design Center in Mumbai. Changes included a large arched roof, a big cabin, and a heavily resculpted nose. The vehicle went on sale in January 2012 at the New Delhi Motor Show. The early model included a 1.5 dCi diesel engine and was discontinued in May'17. The model sold 18,253 units in its lifetime.
Let's look at the current model lineup of Renault-
Duster is the longest-running model in Renault India's lineup.
The current Renault India lineup has 1 Hatch, 1 MPV and 2 SUVs.
1. Renault Duster -
Duster marque was jointly produced by the French manufacturer Renault and its Romanian subsidiary Dacia since 2010 in global markets. Renault launched the Duster on 4 July 2012 in India, with various modifications for the Indian market. The suspension and the underside of the car were strengthened to increase the car's offroading suitability. The Duster was launched in ten different variants, out of which eight were diesel and two were petrol. However, now diesel option has been completely ousted post BS6 implementation.
Duster undoubtedly was the most important model in Renault India's portfolio. It not only helped Renault become a household name in India; but also ensured sustained volumes in the initial few years of the launch. The model actually had the first mover in the Mid-SUV segment and was followed by the likes of Creta, Seltos, Kicks, etc. The model sold an impressive 1,97,676 units to date and has contributed near to 28% of Renault India's sales. However; the model has faced stiff competition from Hyundai Creta & Kia Seltos which was decelerated volumes for the model. Do note that the sales fell -54% in FY15-16 when the Hyundai Creta was launched and couldn't recover post then.
If you note the product life cycle of Duster; the model had an extremely short intro stage, in fact, no growth stage! Even the model had a flying start; the model was unsuccessful to sustain/gain volumes in a long term.
2. Renault Kwid -
The Kwid was developed under the project code BBA. It is the first car to be based on the new CMF-A platform jointly developed by Renault and Nissan. The car was designed by an engineers' team settled in India led by Gérard Detourbet, a senior engineer, former mathematician described as "an innovation a minute" who led the development team for the first-generation Dacia Logan.
The Kwid was unveiled in Chennai on 20 May 2015 by Renault's erstwhile CEO Carlos Ghosn. Ghosn said the car would be "a game-changer for Renault in India." The car had 98% of parts localization and extensive engineering by local Renault's personnel. Sales started in September 2015 and had a "flying start" of 25,000 bookings in 2 weeks and 50,000 in 5 weeks, then 70,000 in 2 months, getting 10% of effective market share in its segment. The Renault Kwid received a minor update in July 2018 and facelift form debuted in India in October 2019. Kwid still remains as one of the best-selling models for Renault India. Similar to Duster; Kwid gained volumes significantly in the initial 2 years - However; it saw declining sales consecutively later!
Even being a 'Hero' model for Renault - Kwid's sales volumes were inconsistent and is still in a declining trend over the timeline. Will it be able to bounce back to earlier glory? Renault's history in the Indian market doesn't suggest so.
3. Renault Triber -
Triber was introduced in India on 19 June 2019 and went on sale in August 2019. Developed under the body code RBC, the Triber is built on top of the CMF-A platform like the Renault Kwid. Despite that, the car is built with over 90 percent new parts not shared with other Renault and Nissan vehicles since it is a larger and wider car in the CMF-A family. Laurens van den Acker, Corporate Design of Groupe Renault said the interior of the car is a miracle and refers to it as "a bit of a Leonardo Da Vinci" as it offers three-row seating in a sub-four meter length.
Triber proved to be an extreme value for money proposition and has helped Renault India steer its Market Share in the Indian market since its launch. It did have a V-shape recovery post-Covid 19; but will it sustain volumes in long run? Hope, it does!
4. Renault Kiger -
Designed and manufactured in India, it is positioned under the Duster to occupy the sub-4 metre crossover SUV segment in India. Developed under the project code HBC, the design of the Kiger was previewed in its concept showcar version on 18 November 2020. The production version was released on 28 January 2021 in New Delhi. Kiger is the work of the French and Indian design divisions. The Kiger is built on the Renault-Nissan CMF-A+ platform shared with the closely related Triber MPV and the Nissan Magnite. The crossover receives a sculpted hood, a semi-floating roof with an integrated gallery that extends to the windshield, as well as two central exhaust outlets.
Renault Kiger was launched on 15th February 2021 and was priced extremely aggressively! Renault dispatched 3,226 units of the Kiger in the first month of the launch itself and placed in the Top 5 selling Compact SUVs of Feb'21 (source).
Renault India needs stable and performing models in its lineup to strengthen its hold in the Indian market. One common thing with Renault cars is extremely short intro & growth stage for the majority of its models. It is high time that the French Automaker has a complete makeover of Duster and ensures the remaining models remain updated and competitive both to rake in required volumes.